Mon
Dec 10 2012 10:47pm

Cumberbatch’s Star Trek Into Darkness Villain Revealed (Again) and He’s...a Redshirt?

The above Star Trek Into Darkness photo, released yesterday, reveals Benedict Cumberbatch’s character in the Enterprise brig (hereafter known as the Cumberbrig). The Paramount Pictures-sanctioned caption released with that photo?

(Left to right) Zachary Quinto is Spock, Benedict Cumberbatch is John Harrison and Chris Pine is Kirk in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.

There we have it. We know who our Star Trek Into Darkness villain is. Except, um, we don’t. Writers Orci and Kurzman and director J.J. Abrams are probably still messing with us.

John Harrison is the nom de plume given to Star Trek actor Ron Veto, who played many an unnamed extra in the show’s first season. Literally, he’s a redshirt—although you can also catch him in blue and gold—and the name wasn’t particularly associated with the actor.

Who’s that nurse holding Sulu down? John Harrison. Who’s that technician on the bridge? Oh, that’s John Harrison. Who’s that security officer? Why, that’s Lieutenant John Harrison. When the script or show needed to name a random crewman walking down the hall? John Harrison.

While there was definitely a “role” to play, there was no character there. So what does this mean now that the name has been attached to Benedict Cumberbatch’s character in Star Trek Into Darkness? Two things:

1.) His name is actually John Harrison and his character is a commentary on how no one pays any attention to him/the redshirts and now he’s a crazed super-powered terrorist who just wants JOHN Spock to love him.

2.) Abrams, Orci, and Kurzman are messing with us and we still don’t know the real name of Cumberbatch’s character. After all, “John Harrison” was almost literally a placeholder name in the original show. The same could easily be said here. (And these guys are no strangers to messing with the fans regarding the info surrounding this movie.)

What do you think?


Stubby the Rocket is the mascot of Tor.com. Stubby thinks John Harrison is real and is probably the one who jumped off the building at the end of Sherlock season 2.

20 comments
Lee VanDyke
1. Cloric
I approve of theory #2. It feels like Abrams' style. Of course, we all thought "Cloverfield" was just a code-name, too.
Henry Loose
2. schrodinger
Star Trek into Darkness is actually the working title for the movie version of John Scalzi's Redshirts.
Danny Bowes
3. DannyBowes
Theory #3: Abrams/Kurtzman/Orci forgot Cumberbatch's identity leaked months ago?
Lee VanDyke
4. Cloric
Facebook has ruined me. I wanted to "Like" Schrodinger's comment @ #2 so badly.
Tahoe Kamman
6. Tahoe Kamman
Maybe Cumberbatches character's name really is John Harrison in the movie. Sort of the ultimate "in joke".
Tahoe Kamman
7. Reign S
Heh, everyone totally oblivious to the significance of the name John "Longitude" Harrison? Beautiful! I will literally die laughing if the character turns out to be a brilliant, self-educated mathematician/engineer.
Tahoe Kamman
8. studio17b
Groan. It's Khan, definitely. In the trailer you can see the villain wearing a jacket with the same distinctive lapels that Khan wore in the original movie.

I'm not terribly excited to see this. It's J J Abrams, innit. Like Lindelof, Favreau and Shymalan, more glitter than substance.
Tahoe Kamman
9. Trip
i'm not buying the "John Harrison"/Cumberbatch announcement; that's just a little too clever: "John Harrison (24 March 1693 – 24 March 1776) was a self-educated English carpenter and later a clockmaker. He invented the marine chronometer, a long-sought device in solving the problem of establishing the East-West position or longitude of a ship at sea, thus revolutionising and extending the possibility of safe long distance sea travel in the Age of Sail."
Liz J
10. Ellisande
Maybe it's real and yet a misdirect at the same time because "Harrison" is a composite of both Khan and Mitchell. The two characters aren't that different in what they're about or what they want, after all, so perhaps instead of choosing one, Abrams and Co picked out elements from both. And then they also get to giggle because "Harrison" is a character from TOS, just like they said, even though it's really an original character.
Samantha Ricketts
11. Iqeret
Out of curiosity, have we ever learned anything about the maternal branch of Spock's family tree? I would assume Amanda wasn't an only child of an only child, whose forebears are all dead. There must be _somebody_ mucking about _somewhere_ with non-pointy-eared, related DNA.
Tahoe Kamman
12. Cecrow
I'm still on the theory that it's what happened to Gary Mitchell, it just gets Mr Harrison instead in this alternate Trek universe in order to make it a bit different. Maybe we'll see Gary Mitchell just about to become its victim, only for Mr Harrison to valiantly/selfishly step in for him.
Tahoe Kamman
13. Todd Sasoriza
I'm with studio 17b (comment #8). "...more glitter than substance." Sad but true.
Tahoe Kamman
14. duncan23
I don't like any of these theories. I think it's an elaborate plot line that will involve time travel and getting back to the verion of ST with a Vulcan.
Rosemary Smith
15. RoseRedFern
@#2 . I really, really wish that were true.
Tahoe Kamman
16. L Palmer
There's no way Abrams will touch Khan. A super-human/god complex villain, whether its officially a character from the canon or not, is a great move. There are many great episodes exploring this concept in the original series. If John Harrison really is the character's name, it's clever and fun. Captain Pike in the previous film had little to do with Captain Pike from the Original Series. I think it's a wink and then a whole new expansion.
Tahoe Kamman
17. TheMadLibrarian
Iqeret, one of the theories is that Spock is distantly related to Sherlock Holmes. He quoted in one movie "One of my ancestors said 'Once you eliminate the impossible...'" The connection has also popped up in various fiction, although I'm not sure it's canon. It appears the logic breeds true on both sides of the family.
Alan Courchene
18. Majicou
3) It is his real name (this part is true), but it's a complete coincidence and they didn't have any idea there was a random-ass background character called Harrison in the series. I didn't, until I looked at Memory Alpha. Instead, they came up with a very common-sounding name OR named him after the aforementioned John "Longitude" Harrison (first option more likely.)

I would point out that Ron Veto's character was only ever identified as "Harrison," never "John Harrison." Redshirts don't have first names.
Samantha Ricketts
19. Iqeret
@TheMadLibrarian:
Ye~s; 'Undiscovered Country', wasn't it? But I was thinking of contemporaneous relatives. After all, if our Johnny-boy here was a cousin or some such, wouldn't that provide a nice little mind-f--k for Spock? Especially as the human relatives would now be the majority of his family, blood-wise, anyway.
Tahoe Kamman
20. J. Austen
Maybe he's actually Sherlock...in space.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment